Dan Feldman

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Even LeBron James and Cavaliers ready for NFL draft

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Even the Cleveland Cavaliers had football fever on draft day.

After practice ended Thursday, the Cavs, who are waiting to see who they’ll play in the second round of the NBA playoffs, hurled footballs across the courts at their indoor training facility.

LeBron James, an All-Ohio wide receiver in high school and die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan, hauled in several long passes from guard J.R. Smith, who showed that his long-range accuracy extends beyond the 3-point line. Point guard Kyrie Irving also joined in, showing a nice five-step drop before whistling a pass to Smith.

Center Kevin Love was asked to assess his teammates’ football skills and rank them as if he owned the No. 1 overall pick.

“It’s tough because if I was starting a team, I would probably say J.R.,” the big man said. “But then we got an All-Pro wide receiver out there too in 23 (James). So, it’s tough to say.”

-Sports Writer Tom Withers reporting from Cleveland

 

Stan Van Gundy: Andre Drummond ‘open’ to underhanded free throws

Memphis Grizzlies v Detroit Pistons
B. Sevald/Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images
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Andre Drummond made 35% of his free throws this season – the worst mark among qualified players in NBA history.

It was no fluke, either. Drummond, a career 38% free-throw shooter, has three of the five worst seasons ever from the line.

How does Drummond fix this?

Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy, via Rod Beard of The Detroit News:

“As far as shooting underhand or anything else, it’s fair to say my discussion with Andre yesterday and the discussions Jeff and I have had and staff — everything is on the table,” Van Gundy said Thursday during the season wrap-up at The Palace.

“It won’t be a unilateral decision; we’ll do some research on some things and come up with what we think is a good approach, talk to Andre and see what he thinks and develop an approach going forward.

“We all know it’s an important thing — Andre more than any of us – he’s pretty open to anything. There’s a lot of ways to attack this problem and we’ll all have a hand in it.”

Rick Barry, who made 89% of his free throws, famously shot them underhanded. So, many fans ridiculously implore any bad free-throw shooter to attempt them underhanded. But Barry probably would’ve converted a high percentage using a traditional technique. Shooting underhanded also doesn’t work for everyone.

But what’s the harm in Drummond trying? It might draw laughs, but so do his horrific misses now – and those too often place him on the bench in crunch time.

New rules on intentionally fouling might limit Drummond’s exposure, but he’ll still have to attempt some free throws. Could he really be worse underhanded?

Maybe. But if he’s willing to put his pride aside, it’s probably worth finding out.

Report: Lakers to interview David Blatt, interested in Doug Collins

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt questions a call by referee Karl Lane in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, in Cleveland. Cleveland won 120-105. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
AP Photo/Mark Duncan
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The Lakers are reportedly prioritizing free-agent recruitment in their coaching search.

So how about someone who reportedly alienated every veteran player at his last job?

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Sources say the Lakers also plan to interview former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt

Or maybe a candidate who reportedly wore down all the players at his last job by being overbearing?

Stein:

NBA coaching sources say that the Lakers also have interest in

ESPN’s Doug Collins

The Lakers are casting a wide net. There’s no harm in talking to Blatt or Collins, but to put it kindly, they seem like strange fits.

Chris Bosh, wife publicly lobbying Heat to play big man

Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (1) kisses his wife  Adrienne at the end of overtime of Game 6 of the NBA Finals basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Wednesday, June 19, 2013 in Miami. The Heat defeated the Spurs 103-100. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
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Chris Bosh released a statement last month that he was “positive” he’d play again for the Heat this season.

But Bosh still hasn’t returned after blood-clot issues, and Miami’s season could end soon.

So, before yesterday’s Game 5, Bosh and his wife seemed to launch a coordinated public campaign urging the Heat to allow his return.

Chris posted a video to Snapchat of him making jumpers with the caption “Still got it.” Adrienne retweeted screenshots and the video and tweeted “#BringBoshBack”:

Down 3-2 to the Hornets, the Heat could use Bosh. But good luck finding a doctor who deems it safe for him to play while taking blood thinners. The risk is just too great that Bosh cuts himself and loses too much blood.

The Heat maintain the same stance they have for a while: There’s no timetable for Bosh’s return.

I understand and respect Bosh’s competitiveness. He wants to play. It just doesn’t seem safe.

So, Bosh’s role is relegated to leadership. That might not be enough against Charlotte, but there’s always next year.

Report: Rockets receive permission to interview Luke Walton

Golden State Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton argues a call against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. Golden State won 111-101. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
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The Rockets’ season mercifully ended last night with a loss to the Warriors, allowing Houston’s players free to go on what appeared to be highly anticipated vacations.

But don’t be surprised if a few members of the Rockets organization hang around Oakland.

Marc J. Spears of ESPN:

Luke Walton – who served as acting head coach for about half Golden State’s 73-win season – is the hot coaching name of the year. The Lakers and Kings want him, and he has come up in the Knicks’ “search.”

Houston might offer the most appealing job if it weren’t for its location – away from the West Coast, an area Walton seems to enjoy. Though sometimes difficult, James Harden is a true star. General manager Daryl Morey has a strong track record of roster building. Owner Leslie Alexander has shown a commitment to winning. Dwight Howard is probably leaving, but that would open cap space, and the Rockets have proven to be a free agent destination. There’s a lot to work with.

Of course, Walton’s current job might be more appealing than any head-coaching vacancy. He appears to like serving as lead assistant on the best – and maybe most collaborative – team in the NBA. Walton can pick his spot for a head-coaching job.

Houston faces the same predicament with another known candidate, Jeff Van Gundy. If Van Gundy doesn’t get enough power, he’s probably content as a color commentator.

If these are the Rockets’ targets, it’s on Morey and Alexander to persuade one to bolt his current job.